Friday, January 20, 2012

Marinara Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This week I started a new challenge - 15 pounds in 15 weeks.  I realized earlier this week that it was exactly 15 weeks until my birthday, which is perfect motivation for me.  1 pound a week is completely do-able . . . but it is going to take some work.  I have written into my planner a different "mini goal" for each week along the way.  For example, this week is no coffee drinks.  Other "mini goals" include drinking 8 cups of water every single day, and earning a certain number of activity points through Weight Watchers during the week.

Today - I ate lots of fruit, had a salad for lunch, spent an hour at the gym and made a yummy dinner that totaled only 8 Points+ : Marinara Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  Broken out, the marinara chicken is 5 points, while a serving of the mashed potatoes is 3 points.

Marinara Chicken:
2 Chicken breasts (8 oz. each)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Cup marinara sauce

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
3 Russet potatoes (large ones!)
1/4 Cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
1/2 Cup (4 oz.) fat-free cream cheese
2 Tsp minced garlic

Okay - I might skip back and forth between steps for the chicken and potatoes.  Hopefully, following the steps this way will allow your meal to be done at about the same time.

First, preheat your oven for the chicken to 400 degrees.  While the oven is preheating, peel your potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters.  Then, chop them into 1-2" chunks and place the pieces into a pot.  I used a 4 quart pot, but you may want to use something slightly bigger - it was barely big enough!!  Once your potatoes are chopped, add just enough water to cover them, and put them on the stove, set on high.

While waiting for the potatoes to boil, you will want to prep your chicken.  After spraying an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray (I like to use the olive oil kind), cut each chicken breast in half so that you have four 4 oz. pieces, and lay in baking dish.  Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and pepper to taste.  Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, your potatoes should be boiling, or close.  Once the water begins to boil, turn down the burner to medium-high and boil for 10-12 minutes (or until potatoes are soft).  Set the pot of potatoes aside when done to keep them warm while chicken cooks. 

When the chicken has about 10 minutes left, add marinara to a small saucepan and heat on low until chicken is done, stirring often to heat through.  I used Prego Heart Smart Traditional sauce - but feel free to create your own or use something else (however, if you are concerned about the points value, know that this could alter the total points).

Also, you can drain your potatoes now and then transfer them to a large mixing bowl, along with the butter.  Using a hand mixer, mix until all the large chunks are broken up and the butter is well mixed in.  Next, add the cream cheese.  I suggest adding it 1/4 cup (2 oz.) at a time - it makes it easier to blend.  Also, you can add the garlic at this time.

Mix until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.  You can add additional cream cheese or garlic to taste.  I also added a little bit of black pepper.

By the time you have mixed up your potatoes, the chicken should be about ready.  After taking the chicken out of the oven, I layed it out on a paper towel for a minute to soak up any excess olive oil.

Now - the best part - dish it on up!! One serving equals one 4 oz. piece of chicken, topped with 1/4 cup of marinara and 3/4 cup of garlic mashed potatoes.  We finished off our meal with corn, but grilled veggies would be a great way to round it out as well.


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